“Performing music and interacting with various people all across the united states was by far the most exciting aspect of my career…” MC Till continues “Until I recorded Beautiful with legendary Jazz musicians.” MC Till’s new album, Beautiful, is the studio album equivalent to a live mc till performance; honest, creative, cutting edge, and enticing.
That is how MC Till has performed his music and lived his life. A few years ago he left a job and a life of comfort to entrench himself into the lives of poor people in an impoverished Cincinnati neighborhood. Not too long after that he was married and had a beautiful daughter. Then cancer struck. His wife, Larita, was diagnosed with the disease in spring 2012. Till watched as his wife went through a treacherous round of chemotherapy. During the last week of treatment as Till was by Larita’s side he received a phone call. On the other end was Ric Hordinski with the news that funding for Till’s next record was approved. It was set. Hordinski would produce Till’s album.
Hordinski quickly enlisted the help from fellow musicians Jon Von Ohlen (former drummer for rummer for Woody Herman and Stan Kenton and now the Blue Wisp Big Band), grammy nominated bassist Byron House (has played with/for Dolly Parton, Nickel Creek, The Dixie Chicks, and Robert Plant), and pianist Steve Schmidt (has played with Charlier, Rouse, Joe Henderson, Herb Ellis and co-founded the Blue Wisp Big Band). Under Hordinski’s direction these musicians would assemble at Monastery studios in Cincinnati, Oh and create the jazzy musical landscape for Beautiful.
Although this is Till’s first album with live instrumentation Till is no stranger to the music scene. During the late 80′s Hip-hop was sweeping across the nation and Till’s big brother caught on. “Naturally, I wanted to be like him, so I started liking Hip-hop too.” He never stopped. Till’s love for Hip-hop would continue as he began to form several groups, record original material, and perform for anyone who would listen. “I remember rapping at parties and during breaks in between classes in High School. I was in love with it.” His love continued.
Upon graduating from college, MC Till moved to Cincinnati, OH, which he now calls home. Almost immediately after arriving in Ohio, MC teamed up with Cincinnati mainstay k-Drama to record Black Guy Meets White Man, an album described as “feel-good music” by LaRosa Johnson from urban-scholar.com. K-Drama mentioned that “working with MC Till was a wonderful experience. We were both able to bring our different styles and create something truly unique.” Mike Breen from City Beat adds “…the two mesh well over lighthearted disco breaks.”
Soon after that, he released Beautiful Raw, a momentary departure from the “feel-good” nature of his previous effort. “Beautiful Raw was a very personal album about my struggles with faith and religious institutions, and my decision to create something beautiful out of something raw.” This release was rated by City Beat as one of the best albums of 2007.
Another collaborative effort would soon follow with the release of the Wonder Brown-assisted Kings of Tragedy. The accompanying tour for Kings of Tragedy, which included an entire dramatic production centered around the album, was met with consistent praise. Rapper JustMe responded to a KOT performance by saying, “It was the most fun and entertaining Hip-hop Show I’ve ever seen.”
“MC Till is a breath of fresh air. His music is really more than music. It’s who he is…how he deals with relationships, balance, and challenges in life,” says Fred Oduyoye, Director of Reload Conference for Urban Youth Workers Institute in Los Angeles. Till’s been through a lot of challenges in the past few years and has used these challenges as fuel for his new music. Till is recharged and ready to begin a new chapter in his life. Beautiful might just be the turning point allowing Till to transcend his Hip-hop reputation and land him into the realm of simply good music.